April 17, 2018

GAO says no to Pruitt's $43,000 private phone booth

Mother Jones =EPA chief Scott Pruitt’s ethics problems keep piling up. In a legal opinion, the Government Accountability Office concluded that Pruitt’s decision to spend $43,238 on a soundproof privacy booth for phone calls in his office violated federal law. The booth’s cost far exceeded the $5,000 legal limit for how much a presidential appointee can spend “to furnish, redecorate, purchase furniture for, or make improvements” to his or her office. Pruitt’s office did not notify Congress about the excessive spending, the GAO contends, in violation of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act.

Pruitt had the booth built, according to the GAO, at the request of his security team so that he had a place to make and take “classified” phone calls and other calls to “discuss sensitive information.” Previous EPA chiefs did not use a secured phone booth in their office to run the agency.

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